COVID-19 Safety Plan
As per the safety guidelines set by the BC College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia, the Provincial Health Organization and WorkSafe BC all clients must 1) complete a COVID-19 self assessment survey and 2) understand the safety protocols implemented at our office prior to their therapy session. These protocols were developed with the goal of reducing the risk of exposure to the virus that causes Covid-19 for the clients and therapists within our clinical setting. The Protocols will be updated as needed.
- Information Specific to clients attending In-Clinic Therapy:
- Self-Assessment for Symptoms of Covid-19: For Clients & Therapists Pre-Screening / Prior to Arrival
- Reception Area / Entry into Clinic Space
- Within the Treatment Room
- Informed Consent
- Maintaining Physical Distance
- Cleaning and Hygiene
- Hand Washing
- Surface Cleaning
- Toy Cleaning
- Rules and Guidelines
- Using Masks
- Resources for Working from Home
Self-Assessment for Symptoms of Covid-19: For Clients & Therapists Pre-Screening / Prior to Arrival
- At the time you book an appointment you will receive a COVID-19 self assessment survey to ensure that you are healthy prior to your in clinic session
- The morning of your booked appointment you will be receive the same online COVID-19 self assessment survey for any updated information. You are required to complete and electronically sign prior to your appointment.
- On the day of your treatment we will do the self-assessment one last time at the clinic.
- All of our therapists have committed to use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool daily and to cancel all appointments if any symptoms appear.
- Symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses and seasonal allergies. An appointment must be cancelled immediately if either the client or the therapist presents with even mild symptoms that may be signs of Covid-19 including: Fever, Cough, Chills, Shortness of breath, Sore throat or pain with swallowing, Stuffy or runny nose, Loss of sense of smell, Headache, Muscle aches, Fatigue and Loss of appetite. Cancellation fees will not be in effect for any cancellation due to illness.
- Clients must confirm that they have not been in contact with anyone displaying illness, or signs and symptoms of Covid-19 within 14 days prior to their treatment.
- Clients must confirm that they have not travelled outside British Columbia within 14 days prior to their appointment.
- Clients with higher risk profiles and/or weakened immune systems should consider alternatives for care and postpone treatment.
Reception Area / Entry into Clinic Space
- Clients are asked to arrive on time for appointments.
- Upon your arrival your SLP will meet you in the waiting room and complete the COVID19 health screening. The treatment will be cancelled immediately if you do not meet the pre-screening criteria upon physical presentation at the clinic. If you meet the pre-screening criteria, you will be walked to the kitchen where you can wash your hands with soap and water before entering the therapy room.
- Non-medical masks are mandatory in the office for clients and family members. If you have a mask please bring it with you. If you do not have a mask, we can supply one for you. Your mask will be worn when entering the clinic and during you or your child’s therapy session.
- For your safety, your therapist will wear a face shield. This will allow for your child to see the therapist’s mouth. In some circumstances, your SLP may choose to also wear a mask.
- Clients are not permitted to sit in the clinic reception area before or after the treatment.
- Appointment times are staggered to reduce the potential of clients and therapists crossing paths, and to allow for time in between appointments for enhanced cleaning.
Within the Treatment Room
- Everything in the therapy room will be thoroughly disinfected before each therapy session; the table(s), chairs, door handles, and light switches will be sprayed with a government approved COVID-19 disinfectant.
- We ask that all of your personal belongings, including purses and bags, are put on the white chair that is the corner of the room so that it can be easily disinfected after you leave.
- We ask that you place your payment cheque in the marked payment box on the shelf or window sill. Receipts for your therapy session will be emailed by the end of the day. At this time we would prefer to not accept CASH payments. If you need to pay by cash, please bring the exact amount and put it in the payment box.
- When the therapy session has ended your therapist will open the door and escort you to the kitchen where you can wash your hands prior to leaving.
- Finally, we will hold the clinic door open for you as you leave to help keep your hands clean.
In the current environment of Covid-19 risk, informed consent requires that the client be informed and understands that:
- Any speech and language therapy treatment involves some risk of COVID19 transmission;
- The therapist is following protocol to help reduce or mitigate risk where possible, but that risk cannot be reduced to zero;
- The client consents to the treatment despite some risk;
- And the therapist will document the patient’s consent in advance at every treatment.
Your informed consent will be collected when you fill out your initial Consent for Service and each time you fill out the COVID19 survey. We appreciate your time in filling out these surveys.
Maintaining Physical Distance
We have established and posted the following occupancy limits:
Waiting Room 2 family units
Kitchen 1 person
Office 2 people
Therapy rooms 3 people
Maintaining Physical Distance
In order to reduce the number of people at the clinic, we have outlined work from home arrangements, virtual meetings and are limiting the number of clients in the clinic. We have also implemented measures to keep workers and others at least 2 metres apart, where ever possible.
- Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) will work remotely when possible and if appropriate for a client.
- SLP schedules are more flexible to allow SLPs to work from home on days that they are not normally in the clinic.
- Meetings are conducted virtually.
Cleaning and Hygiene
- We have reviewed the information on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
- Our workplace has enough hand washing facilities on site for all of our clinicians. Hand washing locations are visible and easily accessible.
- We have policies that specify when workers must wash their hands and we have communicated good hygiene practices to workers. Frequent hand washing and good hygiene practices are essential to reduce the spread of the virus.
- We have implemented cleaning protocols for all common areas and surfaces — e.g., tools, equipment, shared tables, desks, light switches, and door handles. This includes the frequency that these items must be cleaned (number of times per day) as well as the timing.
- Workers who are cleaning have adequate training and materials.
- We will maintain a minimum 2-week supply of plain soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and masks, if possible.
- Our workplace will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least twice a day (e.g. work stations, cell phones, door knobs, etc.)
- While the building has washroom facilities, we encourage you to use the washroom in your own home prior to coming in for your session.
- Clinicians and office staff will disinfect the washroom key after each use.
Rigorous hand hygiene with plain soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is the most effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Both staff and patients/clients can pick up and spread germs easily, from objects, surfaces, food and people. Everyone should practice diligent hand hygiene.
How to practice diligent hand hygiene:
- Wash hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Antibacterial soap is not needed for COVID-19.
- If sinks are not available, use alcohol-based hand rub containing at least 70% alcohol.
- If hands are visibly soiled, alcohol-based hand rub may not be effective at eliminating respiratory viruses. Soap and water are preferred when hands are visibly dirty.
- To learn about how to perform hand hygiene, please refer to the BCCDC’s hand hygiene poster.
- Clinicians and office staff must wash their hands upon arriving for work, prior to each client session, after each client session, before and after breaks, after handling cash or cheques, before and after handling common tools and equipment (eg. ipads, computers, toys).
- Clients and client’s family members must wash their hands before and after each session.
All high touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected between clients. High touch surfaces include, but are not limited to: Light switches, door handles, table surfaces, chairs and electronic devices.
All toys and therapy materials will be cleaned and disinfected between clients.
Rules and Guidelines
We have identified rules and guidelines for how workers should conduct themselves.
We have clearly communicated these rules and guidelines through meetings and signage.
- Clinicians and staff will follow the guidelines for cleaning and hygiene as out lined above.
- Clinicians and staff shall wear Face Shields or face masks at all times while with a client.
- Clinicians and staff shall cough or sneeze into their elbow sleeve or a tissue.
- Clinicians and staff shall throw away used tissues and immediately perform hand hygiene.
- Clinicians and staff shall refrain from touching their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Clinicians and staff shall refrain from sharing any food, drinks, unwashed utensils, cigarettes, or vaping devices.
- We have reviewed the information on selecting and using masks and instructions on how to use a mask.
- We understand the limitations of masks to protect the wearer from respiratory droplets. We understand that masks should only be considered when other control measures cannot be implemented.
- We have trained workers in the proper use of masks.
- Face Shields (and the option to wear masks) will be worn any time a clinician is in the vicinity of a client or other people in the clinic.
- The office manager will wear a mask when she is in the vicinity of any clients or clinicians.
Resources for Working from Home
Our illness policy addresses workers who may start to feel ill at work. It includes the following:
- Sick workers should go home immediately upon having any symptoms, even mild symptoms.
- If the worker is severely ill (e.g., difficulty breathing, chest pain), call 911.
- We will clean and disinfect any surfaces that the ill worker has come into contact with.
- All Speech Language Pathologists and office staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 OR travelled outside BC in the last 14 days OR were identified as a close contact of a confirmed case must stay home and self-isolate.
- Speech Language Pathologists and office staff must assess themselves daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, or COVID-19 prior to entering the clinic.
- Those unsure of if they should self-isolate should be directed to use the BC COVID-19 Self- Assessment Tool. https://bc.thrive.health
- If concerned, they are advised to contact 8-1-1 or the local public health unit to seek further input.
- No more than three Speech Language Pathologists and one office staff may be on site at any one time.
- Our workplace policies ensure that workers and others showing symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from the workplace.
- We will ensure alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol) is available at multiple locations: office entrance, waiting room, and by every therapy room for use before entering and upon exit.
- Staff will be provided with small bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol).
- The waiting room is no longer in use for clients or family members to wait before, during or after sessions.
- We will limit use of shared items by patients (e.g. pens, clipboards, phones).
- We have removed difficult to clean items (e.g. toys) from the waiting area.
- We provide disposable tissues and no-touch waste receptacles in waiting area and therapy rooms.
- We provide plain soap and paper towels in our kitchen with clear instructions on hand hygiene.
- We have displayed PPE donning and doffing instructions in locations available to all clinicians and staff.
- We have emptied therapy rooms of all but bare minimum of equipment (e.g. table and chair).
- We have instructed clients to avoid non-essential accompanying visitors, where possible.
- We will advise clients and accompanying essential visitors to practice diligent hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
- We have informed all clinicians and office staff the current cleaning and disinfection guidelines, including approved cleaning products.
- We make changes to our policies and procedures as necessary.
- Workers know who to go to with health and safety concerns.
- We have a training plan for new staff.